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1. Define and describe the following terms:
(a) Action planning
This is a blueprint that methodically specifies the sequence of tasks that need to be completed in order to successfully launch or implement the program or policy. It involves specifying, in clear and concise detail, the steps required to implement the program or policy design.
(b) Resource plan
A resource plan is a comprehensive statement of the specific fiscal, material, and social resources required to implement an intervention. This plan enumerates all the specific costs associated with each program or policy component, including staff salaries, benefits and training; physical space etc.
2. Describe the purposes (goals) of a resource plan.
A resource plan attempts to achieve the following goals:
- To match resources to objectives: in other words, one must carefully ensure that all the resources necessary to achieve the objectives of the program or policy are in place.
- To identify the availability of current resources and resources still needed to implement the program or policy design.
- To control expenditures over a specified period of time, usually by specifying how much money is to be spent over specific periods of time, such as each quarter
- To provides data for monitoring fiscal aspects of the program or policy and providing feedback to funding sources and other stakeholders
3. What does it mean to "estimate the costs involved for each program component?" How does one do this?
To estimate the costs means to actually plan and come up with a budget involving each program component. First one needs to list the different categories of resources that are needed to achieve each program or policy objective. One should work closely from the program or policy design. The list should include everything that will cost anything.
4. What options are possible when resources prove to be inadequate?
The four possible options when resources are inadequate include;
1. Try to increase funding to cover costs: Multiple funding sources may be required to fund the program's expenses. Maybe more than one grant will be needed. Sometimes funding providers will ask the agency applying for funds to match the provider's contribution, with the requirement that no award will be made until the applying agency comes up with matching funds.
2. Redefine target selection and/or eligibility criteria: This might involve restricting the eligibility of clients (e.g., to those most in need), or lowering the number of clients to be served (e.g., perhaps only 30 high-risk youths can be effectively served by an after-school delinquency prevention program, rather than the originally intended 50).
3. Reduce or modify program objectives (e.g., lower the outcome expected): Perhaps a 10 percent reduction in recidivism can be realistically achieved rather than a 50 percent reduction.
4. Modify the program design: Eliminate one or more program components, beginning with the least essential components of the program.
5. What is a "time line" or Gantt chart? What does it attempt to do?
A “time line” is a blueprint for putting all the programs or policy elements into operation, it’s a step-by-step set of instructions explaining how to implement the program. This chart attempts to plan time period for beginning and ending of each task; it indicates clearly the sequence of activities to be accomplished (and by whom) in implementing the program.
6. Describe three guidelines for coordinating activities.
1. Maintain consistency: Make sure that the actual job duties of staff are consistent with their job descriptions. Develop reward systems and incentives for good performance, and communicate to staff what these rewards are.
2. Maintain clear and frequent communication among staff members, and between staff and supervisors: Various means can be used: staff meetings, memos, conferences, informal conversations, and performance evaluations. Such attempts need to be explicit, though, and must be done on a regular basis. Staff must also feel that their opinions count.
3. Keep an eye on the time-line: Make sure that activities required for successful progression from one step to the next are carried out on time (e.g. make sure that staff are hired and trained by the dates specified in the action plan, that all record-keeping forms are printed, and that procedures are clearly understood by staff).
7. Describe four guidelines for conflict resolution.
1. Avoid the use of force or coercion: Using force is not often effective, even when one has legitimate power and authority. Attempts to stifle opposition often create or increase resistance, produce unintended side effects, and lead to intentional subversion of the program's long-term goals.
2. Try to work for a "win-win" solution, not a "win-lose" outcome: Look for common ground, if possible. There may be options based upon a principle of exchange (i.e., each party gives up something in order to get something) that would reduce resistance at little cost.
3. Generate alternatives and options to deal with problems (i.e., brainstorming): Identify all possible options before evaluating them. Only after a list of options is developed should parties begin discussing costs and benefits of specific strategies or negotiating outcomes (e.g., brainstorming).
4. Use "principled negotiations": There are four basic rules for negotiating fairly. " First, separate the people from the problem (don't take it personally). Second, focus on interests, not positions: each party should identify and communicate their needs, preferences, values, or concerns. Each party should understand what elements need to be included in a reasonable solution. Third, invent options for mutual gain: generate new options that are based on shared interests or an exchange of divergent interests.
Finally, insist on objective criteria: both parties should agree on what criteria will be used to evaluate possible solutions.
1. (a) What is meant by the term "monitoring"?
"Monitoring" refers to the collection of information to determine to what degree the program or policy design is being carried out as planned.
(b) What is the purpose of monitoring?
Monitoring investigated whether the intended target population is being reached? Whether program/policy activities or provisions actually being carried out as planned? And whether appropriate staff or responsible authorities are selected and trained, and are they carrying out their assigned duties?
2. What questions do we need to ask about a program or policy at the monitoring stage? Be specific, and give examples to illustrate your answer.
The key questions for monitoring in terms of their corresponding program or policy design features are:
• What are the characteristics of the actual persons targeted by the program or policy? Are appropriate targets selected?
• Is the program or policy meeting its specified criteria in terms of client eligibility (e.g., age, sex, income, region, etc.) and numbers to be served?
• Are proper target recruiting, referral, screening, and intake procedures followed? How are target selection decisions made?
Program Components or Policy Provisions
- Who did what to whom in what order, how much, and how often? We need to identify some unit of measuring what was done. In a drug treatment program, for example, one way of measuring services delivered to clients is to record the total hours of counseling that are actually delivered to clients.
- Were there variations in how program services or policy provisions were delivered? In a program, for example, did one client receive different amounts or types of services than another (e.g., frequency or quality of treatment)? Was there more than one site or location where a program or policy was carried out, and if so, were services administered consistently across different sites?
Program Staff or Individuals Designated to Implement the Policy
• For a program: Are proper staff selected and trained? Do they fit the specified job descriptions? Do staff understand their duties and perform them as expected? Do different program staffs provide services in a different manner?
• For a policy: Have the individuals responsible for carrying out a policy been clearly identified? Do they understand the policy and their specific responsibilities? Are proper procedures for implementing a specific policy being consistently followed by the designated authorities? Do different policy authorities implement the same rule differently?
3. Describe each of the four methods that can be used to collect data for monitoring. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each.
(a) Observational methods
Observational data may provide a rich and detailed source of information about program activities and policy provisions. By observational data, we mean that evaluators and/or trained observers actually participate in or observe the program or policy in operation.
The major advantage of observational methods lies in the first-hand description of program activities that observers can provide, The major problem with these techniques is that the presence of observers may actually alter the behavior of program personnel or participants.
(b) Service records
Service record data refers to written, typed, or computerized records that are kept by staff. Many programs require staff to collect certain information on program clients, service delivery, and staff duties. One simple example is program attendance data:
Service record data have at least two advantages: such data is (1) inexpensive, and (2) easily obtainable. However, service record data also present two common disadvantages: (1) program records may not contain sufficient information needed to monitor clients and the services provided adequately; and (2) staff may not record this information consistently, accurately, or completely. There may be sizable gaps in the information that is actually recorded.
(c) Service provider data
Service provider data refers to information that the evaluator or change agent obtains from program or agency staff members directly. As opposed to service records, for example, we could ask staff about the specific activities and services being provided.
The major advantage of this technique is that program or agency staff has regular involvement in the intervention, and they can often provide detailed, first-hand experience and knowledge. The major problem is potential objectivity: program staff or policy authorities may answer questions so as to make themselves or the program/policy look good. Staff may also dislike the extra time or work required by this method
(d) Program participant data
Participant data refers to information that the evaluator or change agent obtains from clients or targets directly. Too often, client perceptions of interventions are ignored. It is important to get clients' perceptions not only of what services were actually delivered, but often their degree of satisfaction with program services or policy provisions.
The advantages of obtaining client perceptions are the clients have abundant first-hand experience with program or policy services, and they are the only ones who can provide the perspective of the intended targets of change. Disadvantages to be considered are possible subjectivity (clients or targets may want to make the intervention look either "good" or "bad" depending on their person experience and possible mistrust of unfamiliar evaluators or "outsiders."
4. What are the purposes of an information system? Describe three major guidelines for developing such a system.
A good information system can serve several purposes. First and foremost, a good information system can demonstrate accountability to funding agents, the community, and other stakeholders who may provide either critical support or resistance. A good information system is also useful for planning: it allows program managers or policy authorities to see how well plans are going and what problems emerge, and then make decisions about adjustments. A useful information system allows for continuous monitoring over time: it is sensitive to both intended and unintended changes in program or policy design.
Several guidelines should facilitate the development of a useful information system. First, it is vital to gain staff acceptance. Extra paperwork is unwelcome unless you can show that it provides meaningful and useful information.
Cost is another consideration. Even printing new forms can be expensive for a small, nonprofit agency. The bigger the agency and the greater the number of clients, however, the greater the likelihood that more sophisticated information storage systems are needed.
Compatibility is the final consideration. What information is already being collected? Can current information systems be modified somewhat, rather designing a brand new information system? Safeguarding of information is important.
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